The following are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Highway 69 Four-Laning Detail Design.
If you have additional questions, please contact the project team. Our contact details are included in the Contact Us section.
1) Why are four lanes required along this section of Highway 69?
Four-laning of Highway 69 will provide benefits to local residents and business owners, other Ontario motorists and visitors to the area. Specifically it will:
- Improve the safety of Highway 69 by reducing congestion and making passing easier, providing controlled access to the roadway, and separating northbound and southbound traffic with a median.
- Improve travel times between northern and southern urban centres.
- Improve access to areas already developed, allowing for continued development and growth of the local tourist and recreational sector.
- Reduce the likelihood and duration of road closures due to roadway maintenance and collision investigations.
2) What is the purpose of this Detail Design project?
The purpose of this Detail Design project is to develop contract documents, finalize environmental mitigation and obtain outstanding approvals.
3) How will Detail Design improvements be assessed?
Improvements are assessed in co-ordination with project staff, relevant external agencies / interest groups and the general public. Federal agencies include: the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA), the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Transport Canada (TC), Environment Canada (EC), Heritage Canada and Health Canada. Provincial agencies include: the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), Ministry of the Environment (MOE), Ontario Parks, Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MTC) and Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). Local municipalities, local Road Boards, Sustainable Forest License holders, Snowmobile Clubs, Interest Groups and the general public will also be engaged throughout the assessment process.
4) What Detail Design elements are being examined?
Design improvements will be explored for the following elements along this section of Highway 69:
Although preferred concepts were identified for each of the design elements noted above during Preliminary Design, improvement alternatives are being considered.
- Interchange ramps
- Access roads
- Service roads
- Highway profile
- Snowmobile crossings
5) How will this project build on the issues and commitments identified in the Route Planning Study?
A number of issues were identified in the Route Planning Report (2006) that will require further consultation with external agencies.
For example, the proposed snowmobile crossings and trail linkages require further discussion with local snowmobile clubs and for Park to Park Trail to obtain the required approvals and/or permits from MNR. Sustainable forest license holders will also be consulted regarding forest access roads and opportunities for sustainable timber harvest.
The MNR will be consulted regularly on issues and potential mitigation measures, including opportunities for wildlife crossings (eco-passages), vegetation protection measures, biodiversity recycling, and sustainable forest harvesting. These discussions will ensure all necessary environmental avoidance, protection/mitigation measures are incorporated into the contract packages.
6) How will area cottagers and other seasonal residents be notified and given opportunities to participate?
Cottagers and seasonal residents who participated in the Route Planning Study will continue to be notified of study milestones and public meetings through direct mailings, as well as through advertisements in local newspapers, and the project website. Opportunities to participate will be provided through Public Information Centres held within the Study Area. There is also opportunity throughout the study for public input by contacting the project team directly.
Checking in periodically with this web site will allow interested individuals to track the progress of the study. In addition, everyone on the study's mailing list will receive notification by mail regarding study milestones and public meetings. You can request to be added to the mailing list on the Contact Us page.
7) Why has the project been split into two phases?
The Detail Design will be implemented in two (2) phases to correspond with the proposed construction phasing generally running from north to south. Implementing the Highway improvements in phases will allow traffic onto sections of newly constructed infrastructure, thereby facilitating safety and operational improvements as efficiently as possible. In addition, Advance Clearing Contracts have also been scheduled to ensure that the clearing of trees and vegetation does not conflict with environmental protection requirements (i.e. bird nesting) and to better facilitate utility relocations in advance of the main grading contracts.
8) How will this Detail Design assignment be documented?
The Detail Design is being carried out in two (2) phases. Advance tree clearing contracts will be completed for each Phase before the main highway construction contracts. Nearing the completion of the design for each Phase the Design and Construction Report will be prepared for public review.
The DCRs document how the commitments made in the Route Planning and Environmental Assessment Report were addressed.
9) What is the expected timing of construction?
Timing is conditional upon the receipt of various approvals, permits, property acquisition, and provincial funding, as well as the completion of various engineering details.
10) Will First Nations Communities be impacted by the Highway 69 four-laning?
The Project Team has been consulting with the Shawanaga First Nation to ensure that impacts are minimized and issues regarding property, access, traditional activities, land rights and the environment are considered. The Project Team will continue to work with First Nation communities as the project progresses.
The new alignment sections were selected during Route Planning to minimize impacts on existing First Nation communities and built-up areas along Highway 69.
11) Will communities along the highway be impacted?
During the Route Planning Study, the public and municipalities were consulted to ensure that impacts were minimized to the extent possible.
To avoid impacts on existing concentrations of development along the Highway 69 corridor, consideration was given to four-laning Highway 69 on a new alignment which avoids communities. Highway travelers will be able to safely access community nodes at interchanges.
12) What happens to homes/businesses located along the recommended alignment?
Although the recommended alignment was selected to minimize any impact to local residents/businesses, some properties and houses are required to allow four-laning to proceed. Those directly affected by the four-laning will be contacted by staff from the Ministry’s Property Section.
13) How much does four-laning cost?
On average, it costs $10-$12 million per kilometer, plus an additional $8 to $12 million per interchange to build a four lane highway in Northern Ontario. The proposed four-laning of Highway 69 represents a significant investment in northern infrastructure and economic development. Design and property acquisition is additional.
14) How will access between communities and area destinations be accommodated?
The need to maintain access between communities and area destinations has been an important consideration in developing the recommended alignment. Access will be provided through a combination of interchanges, new service roads and the existing road network.
15) How will the snowmobile trail system be maintained during and following construction?
The Project Team will carry forward commitments to maintain the continuity of the snowmobile trail system, and will continue to consult with local snowmobile clubs throughout Detail Design.
The proposed works involve replacing the existing at grade snowmobile trail crossing with a new trail/highway underpass; connecting with the existing snowmobile trail network east and west of Highway 69.
The Park to Park Trail Association will construct the new trail. Further review of the trail will be undertaken cooperatively between MNR and the Park to Park Trail in the future. Any necessary approvals required will be pursued by the Trail Association.
Construction staging will consider trail use/need for temporary measures (trail crossings, signing, fencing etc.).
16) How do you minimize impacts to local residents during construction?
Contractors hired by the MTO to build new highways are required to protect affected residents during the construction period by maintaining access and dealing with noise and dust issues. The Contractor utilizes such measures as: acceptable daily hours of operation to minimize noise levels and treating gravel road surfaces to prevent excessive dust.
17) How do you minimize impacts to the traveling public during construction?
Ideally, construction of the new four-lane highway will occur away from the existing traffic flow. In situations where construction must occur on the existing highway, restrictions on the number and duration of operations are defined in the Contract.
18) Where will interchanges be located?
Following from the Route Planning Study, interchanges are recommended at strategic locations, typically at major highways and large community nodes, as follows:
Please note that plans for interchanges will be refined as part of the Detail Design phase. You should check this page frequently to ensure that you are viewing the most up-to-date information.
- Woods Road Industrial Park area
- Shebeshekong Road